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GREAT FIRST FORUM IS JUST THE START!

We had a great turnout of 40 for our first forum in Wellingborough, so we are not stopping there! A report will be published soon on our blog. If you were there, I trust that you found it as empowering and as energising as I did to have your voice heard!

Glamis Hall have kindly offered to continue hosting our forums, and have suggested the stage them on Mondays to avoid noise from the main hall. I am proposing therefore that our next forum could take place on Monday the 25th June and that we hold them on every last Monday of the month from there.

This does of course come very quickly after our workshop and is only 2 and a half weeks away, but I feel that we need to have another quickly to respond to the proposed ‘New Town Council’ and ‘Two Unitary Councils’ as deadlines to respond are coming up fast! It is vital that the Borough Council of Wellingborugh hears our voices about this and the sale of the Jacksons Lane Car Park so please do continue add your view on our online forum.

Don’t forget to also get your self nominations in to help manage this group, you can Self Nominate here. I hope to announce our group management team at our next forum, so please do get your name in by Wednesday the 20th June to allow for a discussion at the workshop that is taking place on the 21st.

For further details about the workshop and to book a ticket (as spaces are limited) see our Workshop page.

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Community Voices

Wellingborough Forum 1If you want to share your opinions about Wellingborough
and Northamptonshire, join us! We are holding our first open forum next week in Wellingborough on the 6th June at 7pm in Glamis Hall. Entry is free, there is car parking and refreshments are available.

The format is going to be a very simple, ‘topic proposed and debated’, topics will include the proposed Town Council, Jackson’s Lane Car Park and Potholes.  The purpose is to inform local councilors/councils of the communities views. We will also deciding the format and function of future forums and our organisation.

Community Voices is being set up across Northants as an independent, non-party political, community forum that will constructively enable residents, communities and businesses to fully take part and contribute to the decisions councils are making in Northamptonshire, particularly in reference to the transition to unitary councils.

To gather as many views as possible, we have on-line forums too and these have ‘gone live’ today!   Join in at wellingborough.communityvoices.org.uk

Yes Facebook groups are very popular and a great way to share issues; but topics are often lost because of the shear amount of posts and comments are often not constructive or polite.  We believe that people (including councillors) want to read about other people’s views and opinions; and want to comment without the risk of being abused.  We also feel that people need space, free from commercial or party political propaganda, to truly express themselves.

So to make this happen we have decided on three simple rules when posting on the online forums and speaking at one of our open public forums; the rules are – no rudeness, no party politics and no advertising.

It will be great to see a broad selection of people from the community on Wednesday, hopefully you! If you would like to add an item to the agenda please email admin@communityvoices.org.uk or message us from our Facebook page at facebook.com/communityvoicesforum

Cluck Off – We Say No To The Chicken ‘Factory Farm’ in Rushden.

Cluck OffWe are supporting the campaign to stop the intensive poultry plant being built in Rushden.  Bedfordia Farms Ltd plan to build a poultry farm with the capacity for up to 540,000 birds.  They have applied to build 10 poultry buildings and associated infrastructure on land north east of the Westwood AD Plant in Bedford Road.  The American style chicken farm is a factory farm that will have 22 chickens in a 1 square meter cage – 540,000 chickens will suffer these conditions if the proposed  development in Rushden goes ahead.

We believe this hugely unpopular development is bad for the environment and for animal welfare.  The campaign has been lead by Roger Barnes, head of the ‘Cluck Off’ protest group, which has been fighting the plans since they were first submitted.  The plans have been met with vigorous opposition locally, with Peter Bone MP and Tom Pursglove MP joining protesters this week.

Simon TurnerSimon Turner, the Green Party Candidate who is standing on Thursday in Higham Ferrers for East Northamptonshire District Council, said: “We are objecting to the planning application both in terms of it being detrimental to the environment locally, and because it is cruel to animals.  This is a factory farm that is terribly bad for animal welfare; and potentially the pollution from bird waste and increase in lorry movements locally is totally unacceptable.”

Objections from local people need to be submitted to East Northamptonshire District Council, Cedar Drive, Thrapston NN14 4LZ.  Their Planning Committee is expected to be meeting to consider the application on February 28th at 19:00 in the Council Chamber, there are currently 1265 objections to the Poultry plant.

8th Wellingborough Diggers’ Festival and Fringe Programme

Diggers LogoWednesday 21st March – Thursday 29th March 2018

Event: Display about the Diggers

Venue: Wellingborough Museum, 12 Castle Way, Wellingborough, NN8 1XB

Time: 10am – 4:30pm

Fee: Free Entry

Friday 23rd March 2018

Event: Guest Speaker – Andrew Bibby is a freelance writer and journalist whose work has appeared in The Observer, The Independent, The Guardian and other national papers. He has written widely on the countryside and the outdoors. Andrew’s latest book Back Roads Through Middle England, includes a chapter on Wellingborough and The Diggers both past and present. Book signing opportunity.

Venue:  Wellingborough Museum, 12 Castle Way, Wellingborough, NN8 1XB

Time: 7:30pm

Fee: £4.00 on the door

Saturday 24th March 2018

Event: Commemorative Event – A short service to remember the Wellingborough Diggers.  Please bring with you one item of non perishable goods to this event which will be collected and distributed to the local foodbank. This supports Winstanley’s letter which was found on 4 Surrey Diggers who were arrested in Wellingborough during April 1650.

Venue: Diggers’ Information Board, Prologis Park, Wellingborough West off Sywell Road, Wellingborough.  Once on Sywell Road turn off at roundabout for Park Farm South. (depending on which way you approach the area you may approach more than one roundabout) Access is along the footpath near Dunkleys and Dana.  The footpath is lined by trees on the right. It is less than a 5 minute walk along the footpath.

Time: 12noon

Event: Live Entertainment

Plumhall – Folk/Americana  – Nick Hall (Hall Brothers, Magna Carta). Due to unforeseen circumstances we have just found out (today) that Michelle Plum will be replaced by Bella Gaffney who has appeared with Nick many times including last year’s Beverley Folk Festival. Bella has also appeared at Hebden Bridge Folk Roots.  Folk/Americana.

Will Kaufman – recognised as the world’s leading authority on Woody Guthrie. Hard Times and Hard Travelin’ show followed by Q&A.

Mick Panter – Northamptonshire’s local retro blues guitarist.

Venue: The Horseshoe Inn, 36 Sheep Street, Wellingborough, NN8 1BS

Time: Doors 7pm First Act 7:15pm

Fee: £10 or £8 concessions on the door

Please note that if on the Friday evening you purchase both tickets for Friday and Saturday there is a discount. Both tickets will cost £12. Concessions for Saturday evening only, £8 on the door.

Find us on Facebook for Digger news and Festival updates.

https://en-gb.facebook.com/Wellingborough-Diggers-Festival-480408602099413/

We look forward to welcoming you all next month!

Best wishes

Jacqui (o.b.o. Wellingborough Diggers)

Change Needed at Northamptonshire County Council

Northamptonshire County Council will not be in a position to deliver a balanced budget by the end of this financial year and has imposed immediate spending controls, meaning no new expenditure is permitted, with the exception of safeguarding vulnerable people and statutory services. The current situation at Angel Square is that the council has run out of money; whilst it may seem without precedent, it also feels somehow inevitable.

During last year’s County Council elections, the Green Party in Northamptonshire highlighted the ongoing budgetary issues with the County Council and said that the current administration was just papering over the cracks. The Green Party is not surprised that our county council has failed; their budgetary forecasting simply isn’t fit for purpose, so why should we trust their budget proposals this time?  Green Party candidate, Simon Turner, who is standing in Higham Ferrers for the County Council, said:

Northamptonshire Conservatives“Although the current deficit is largely being caused by cuts in funding on a national level, the current situation has been made worse by disastrous decisions made by the Conservative administration.  Years of council tax freezes have delivered no benefits to the citizens of Northamptonshire, and the drastic cuts over the last seven years represent a clueless council that can’t balance its books.”

Political parties of all persuasion have had their say over the past few days, and whilst the Northamptonshire Green Party agrees that the current situation is untenable, we don’t think that handing control over to the national government would be a desirable solution. Whilst the County Council may have mishandled the budget, they were dealing with cuts voted for by all of Northamptonshire’s MPs in Parliament. It’s a problem of Conservative governance, whether that be local or national.  Simon Turner continued:

“It is critical that services are protected, and we urge Conservatives of the County Council to work with the opposition parties to ensure this happens in the short term. In the longer term, it is clear that local government in Northamptonshire needs reorganisation, and that the County Council’s position on this has been the major hold-up over the past few years. The County Council should recognise the position of the Borough and District Councils regarding this issue, and work with them towards a reorganisation based on three Unitary Councils across the County, recognising that this is critical to ensuring the future sustainability of government in Northamptonshire.“

Northants Green Party ManifestoLocal government as we know it is almost certain to change drastically in the next few years. There has been serious talk of disbanding the current two-tier council system here in Northamptonshire and discussions about setting up unitary authorities have been ongoing since late 2015. Whilst most political parties support the idea, Labour has consistently blocked any changes.  The Green Party believe the best option for Northamptonshire is to split into three unitary councils, one for Northampton, one for the north/east of the county, and one for the south/west.  

Unitary councils would benefit local people, for example, as one council would be in control of environmental services, public transport and highways.  Currently borough/district councils, for example, are drawing up clean air strategies, but the county council is the authority with the power to change public transport or build more roads to alleviate the concentration of nitrogen dioxide in specific areas.

There is a temporary reprieve for library services, with a revised proposal which would see volunteers running libraries next year.  The county council would continue to fund the library service until April 1st 2019, with the authority paying a further year of rent in 2019/20 and community groups responsible for utility costs.  There are also revised proposals relating to Trading Standards and the County Connect and Call Connect on-demand bus services. Cabinet will meet to discuss the final budget proposals next Tuesday, February 13th.

The shitty new communist futurism

ENTITLE blog - a collaborative writing project on Political Ecology

By Aaron Vansintjan

Let us dream big. But without considering the limits to the shit we consume and generate, our heads will stay in the clouds.  

Editors’ note: This is the first in a series of ENTITLE blog articles that critically engage with the ongoing discussions about “eco-modernist socialism” and “communist futurism”, projected in Jacobin magazine’s climate change issue ‘Earth, Wind, and Fire.’  Our series continues the debate with critical insights that question the foundations of these proposals. In particular, whether they imply a substantive transformation of current capitalist socio-ecological regimes, or their continuation and even expansion. The series will also feature contributions by Stefania Barca and Emanuele Leonardi.

Why languish in despair? After decades of neoliberal cutbacks and in the face of climate disaster, something new is appearing on the horizon: the willingness to think big. With the rise of Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, the Left has caught…

View original post 1,619 more words

Progressive Events in Wellingborough and Northampton

Progressive events diary over the next month or so in Wellingborough and Northampton:

Holocaust Memorial (Wellingborough)
This week (Thursday to Saturday): Exhibition in the Swansgate Centre.
Saturday (27th) at 10.30 – 11.30 in the Wellingborough Museum: Youth theatre group production and a speaker from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust
Sunday (28th) at 2.00 pm til 2.30: Memorial Service at the Anne Frank Tree, Swanspool Gardens near the Council offices, Doddington Road

Protests at Northamptonshire County Council
P1100099Saturday, February 17th at 12.00: Protest Rally against County Council cuts. All Saints Church, George Row, Northampton
Thursday, February 22nd at 9.30 am: Protest outside County Council prior to full council meeting at 10.00. You can attend the full council meeting. You have to register if you wish to speak.

Palestine Solidarity
Monday, February 26th at 6.30: Fundraising event at the Kohinoor Restaurant, Finedon. Guest speaker Zara Bailey, who has recently returned from a visit to Palestine sponsored by the National Education Union (previously NUT). Tickets £15 for three course meal. Telephone 07872836463 for information.

Wellingborough Diggers Weekend
Friday/Saturday, March 23rd/24th: Further details to be circulated

May Day and International Workers Day
Friday, May 4th at 7.00 pm at WACA, Rock Street: Political rally and social (including live music, comedy, real ale and food)